Reflection for Morning Prayer

September 17, 2023 Proper 19
Matthew 18:21-35

Julian Whitney

♬ It’s easy to forgive,

But harder to forget,

You can keep your yesterdays,

I’m gonna’ make tomorrow mine ♫

  • a stanza by Jacki Graham.

I am, on occasion, offended by the words or actions of my family or friends. Of course I forgive the offence but the forgetting is more difficult; it’s a ‘chip on my shoulder’ and weighs me down – it burdens me, it troubles me for YEARS! I can’t make “…tomorrow mine…” This is a problem; the inability to forget weighs heavily on my shoulders.

“To Err is Human, to Forgive Divine.” – a double Iambic Pentameter; a very powerful literary device!

Sometime between 1688 and 1744, Alexander Pope wrote this ‘divine couplet’; we (humans), sin but God forgives us.

Today’s readings remind us of forgiving, not giving up upon our brethren:

God spoke to Joseph, “…forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.”

Paul questions the Romans, “Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another?”

Matthew asks Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins agains me, how often should I forgive?”

Why did God create the garden of Eden? Why did he plant that inedible apple🍎on that tree🌳? Why did he put that snake🐍in the garden? Why did he banish Adam and Eve into the wilderness? Why did Jesus go into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan👹? Why did he send his only son into the world to be cruelly murdered?

I have no answer, but The Gospels tell us that it was for “The Forgiveness of Sins.” 

Christ our Lord and Saviour teaches us, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

We all sin in mind, word, body and spirit yet God forgives us.

So we, too, must forgive each other, the children of God, and never give up on them, as the Holy trinity never gives up on us.